Published: 11:11, 31 January 2012 |
Updated: 09:43, 10 January 2014
The case for a Thames Estuary airport is to be put under the spotlight by a powerful group of business chiefs and council leaders in the region.
The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) is to commission a major study into airports in the region.
The study will consider "the optimum location for a potential hub airport" in the area.
The LEP is a group of business and council representatives set up by the government to steer job creation and boost investment in the region.
It has identified the Thames Gateway as a key area for its aim of helping create 113,000 jobs in North Kent and south Essex over the next 20 years.
Both Kent County Council and Medway council are represented on the LEP and their opposition to airport plans for north Kent are well known. Some business leaders, however, are supportive of the idea because of its potential to create thousands of jobs.
The LEP’s study could be influential in making the case for or against the plans for a new hub airport and is likely to be a major contribution to the government’s consultation around the issue.
As well as the proposals for a new airport, the study will also focus on how best to increase capacity around the existing airports over the next decade.
It will examine the possibility of increasing capacity at Manston Airport in Thanet.
In a four-page statement on the study, the LEP says unless something is done to improve capacity, businesses will relocate from the south east to northern Europe.
"Already London Heathrow is losing routes to European competitors due to the overcrowding."
The comment echoes the arguments put forward by London Mayor Boris Johnson in advancing his case for an aiport in the Thames Estuary.
However, the LEP says there are question marks over all the proposals for the Thames Estuary airport, saying all pose "significant environmental and logistical problems" and "are unlikely to be brought forward in the next decade by which time the airports of the south east will have exceeded their capacity".
The LEP says a more detailed study of a hub airport will be carried out if there is evidence that existing capacity in the south east is insufficient.
A Medway Council spokesman said: "Medway welcomes the LEP study on airport capacity in the South East. We are not in the least bit convinced of the need for a new hub airport as promoted by Boris Johnson or Sir Norman Foster.
"The study will see what capacity we already have available and how that can be better joined up rather than look at pie in the sky ideas, which are unlikely to ever see the light of day."
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
This is a brand new online resource covering every aspect of owning and improving a home in Kent and Medway.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Neil Miller, Hever Castle head gardener is new gardening blogger.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.